Endive with Sardines and Lemon from The Homemade Kitchen

Sardines and lemon atop endive leaves qualifies more as snack than a meal, but given the hefty amount of food many of us had this past week, perhaps this healthy snack will make a welcome meal.

This palette cleanser that's about to launch us into December from The Homemade Kitchen and Alana Chernila. Chernila's lovely blog, eating from the ground up, is a primer in cooking and preserving fresh, seasonal food. In this, her sophomore endeavor in the world of cookbooks, Chernila clearly enjoys making clear, clean, and realistic homemade food.

While there are some fancy tricks and turns here--recipes for kefir and tofu--she gives us hearty staples such Coq au Vin (with Buttermilk Spaetzle, no less), Chicken Pot Pie, and Summer Squash Frittata balanced with nibbles and bites that will help keep the waistline in check.

However, what delights me, as one who likes a good mantra, is the way she divides the book. Tacked up on Chenila's refrigerator is a list of daily aphorisms; from that, she takes her chapter titles. She reminds us to "Be a Beginner," "Use Your Scraps," or "Do Your Best, and Then Let Go."

Perhaps this would be a cookbook better suited to the New Year and the resolutions we all make. But I'll take it for now, as we enter into the extravagance of the holiday season.

Anyway, back to the Endive with Sardines and Lemon: Sardines are a sustainable fish, high in calcium and packed with protein.  And lo, if you can get your hands on fresh ones, this little dish is even better.

Even those of you, like myself, who believe that sardines can be too fishy, this recipe just might change you mind. Sure, if you're a little leery of sardines, you could go with well-chosen, oil-packed tuna here as a really tasty substitution. However, given the sheer amount of lemon and parsley in this recipe, you might find yourself coming around to the sardine.

Finally, this recipe comes from the chapter entitled "Feed Yourself." Chernila talks about how making food for oneself is a "worthy endeavor." From a wonderful salad with butter-fried dates and fresh ricotta to a radish butter spread for fresh bread, this chapter is right up my alley. And she ultimately argues that despite all of our cooking for friends and family, from time to time we just need to nourish ourselves. Now that's a mantra I can get behind, now and throughout this heavy-eating season.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Endive with Sardines and Lemon

Adapted from Alana Chernila's The Homemade Kitchen

Serves 1

1/2 of a 3.5-4.5-ounce can on sardines in olive oil, lightly drained OR 1-2 sardine fillets
1 tsp olive oil
2.5 Tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 squeeze lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 endive

1.  In a small saute pan, cook the sardines over medium heat with the olive oil until the skin starts to brown a little. Transfer to a small bowl.  If you used canned sardines, simply skip the cooking step.

2.  In a small bowl, combine the sardines with most of the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Mash with a fork and taste. Add more lemon juice or salt if needed.

3. Pull apart the endive, separating each leaf from the endive. Divide the sardine mixture evenly among the leaves. Sprinkle the remaining lemon zest and parsley over the plate for garnish.


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